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Disney World Accused Of Segregating Transsexual Intern

This is pathetic, and completely discriminatory…and legal. Disney, as one would expect, isn’t commenting on this story. (

A transsexual student from the University of Maine says she is being segregated in a student intern program at Orlando’s Disney World. The woman, who wants to be identified only by her first name, Claire, was accepted last fall to the Walt Disney World College Program for a seven-month internship.

The 23 year old tells the Bangor Maine News that when she told Disney officials she is transsexual they said they offer only single-sex housing and gave her two options: Cut her hair and go back to living as a male, or live alone in a two-person apartment and pay double the amount of rent.

“A lot of people don’t want to understand,” Claire said Monday. “It’s so difficult to express [being a transgendered person] to people that haven’t dealt with it in some fashion.”

Claire told the paper that the internship is important to her, and rather than fight the directive she opted to live alone and pay double rent.

It is a decision that has left her nearly destitute. As an intern, Claire will make $6.35 an hour, working 30 to 35 hours a week at a job to which she has yet to be assigned. That adds up to about $200 a week, and rent alone will eat up at least $160, she explained.

Her friend, Matthew Small who is the liaison to the UM Deans of Students office for UM’s LGBT students, is coming to her rescue. “Essentially, option one wasn’t an option, and option two is blatant discrimination,” Small told the paper. Officials at the University of Maine said they are considering taking action against Disney’s recruitment on campus.

Note: there is no federal bill on the horizon to protect the transgendered/transsexual against discrimination. The failed Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) included sexual orientation but not gender expression. Some organizations, including PFLAG want to include trans-inclusive language in ENDA, but this is deemed political suicide for any chance at future passage.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding